What do you think of when you hear the term “new digs”? A new house? A fresh place to call home? A recent change in residence? That’s what Ginny Jones, the Founder and Executive Director of New Digs Ministry, Inc. thought of back in 2007. Ginny had a dream of creating a place where individuals with mental health problems could receive home furnishings for their residence, completely free.
What brought about this dream? Ginny knew first-hand how difficult it was for a person receiving mental services to be able to afford any kind of home furnishings, as she is the mother of an autistic daughter. As her daughter grew older and was ready to live in her own apartment, one without any support services, she would receive only about $600.00 per month to cover all of her living expenses. Ginny saw how this small monetary income severely limited the things that her daughter and her friends could afford to outfit a new home.
So, what did Ginny do? She started collecting furniture that she saw discarded along the roadside and storing it on her front porch. As you can image, her collection quickly outgrew her allotted space, so a friend recommended her seek out storage space at Mission Central. The staff there was extremely supportive of Ginny’s mission, giving her a dozen pallets to store her finds. In January of 2007, “New Digs” was the official name of Ginny’s dream. Word spread quickly across the children’s mental health network in Cumberland and Dauphin counties, causing her to seek out more space and more help. In no time at all, a Board of Directors was formed and Ginny’s mission became New Digs Ministry, Inc.
Today, New Digs has been fortunate enough to expand and assist a variety of different people in need, from those that are recovering from physical losses, such as fires or floods, to those starting over from rehabilitation, prision, domestic violence shelters, and so on. New Digs works on a referral system from clergy members, hospital staff and other community organizations. Most recently, the ministry has received the most referrals for U.S. Veterans returning from combat and working through rehabilitation or recovering from hospitals.
With the help of dedicated volunteers and gracious community members, in 2010 New Digs gave away materials worth $373,247, and in 2011 they exceeded that value by a $100,000; giving away items totaling $474,233. This past year saw even more success, with $500,000 worth of home furnishings helping to outfit 1,900 families in the surrounding communities.
Ginny’s passion for helping others is bolstered by her devotion to honor the words of Jesus Christ:
“The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)
With a mission as pure as this, one can only dream of the potential New Digs Ministry has yet to create!